Google is reportedly planning to launch its own retail stores in the US.
According to The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, Google is developing plans for the stores, although has no precise launch date planned and may not unveil the stores this year.
The site 9to5Google also reported recently that Google stores were on the way, citing a likely launch date ahead of the Christmas period to enable Google to shift its growing hardware range, which includes Nexus smartphones and Chromebooks.
Whatever its decision, opening its own retail stores — a step fellow software giant Microsoft has also recently taken — would be a good idea for Google, according to some analysts.
Morgan Stanley said the move would help accelerate the adoption of Android and Chrome, according to Business Insider, and give it the platform to earn similar sums to Apple's retail presences: $50m on average per store per year off an estimated build cost of $10m per store.
Morgan Stanley cites Google job postings for engineers to develop retail Point of Sale systems as evidence for stores.
They note the stores would allow customers to test before buying Google's Nexus devices and allow the company to demonstrate new technologies such as Google Glass or its self-driving cars. Perhaps most importantly, it would fill a major gap in Google's product support infrastructure: a public face.
The company's more recent hardware challenges have been replenishing supplies of the fast-selling, low-priced Nexus 4 smartphones and Nexus 10 tablets to its online stores.
In addition, retail stores could show off Google's Motorola-branded products, such as the rumoured X phones, which could be announced this May at the Google I/O conference, according to a report on ZDNet's sister site, CNET.
Google opened its first Chrome Zone retail outlets in London in 2011; however, these were housed within existing Dixons Retail outlets PC World and Currys. In the US it has partnered with Best Buy.